Annual Goals

Happy 2023! December was such a fun and full month- I ended up having plans almost every day but had some nice relaxing days at the end (who am I kidding- I can never relax so we ended up doing a guest room makeover, hung new ceiling fans, and installed LED lights. Here's what the guest room looks like now!).

Spending time with friends and family and enjoying the beautiful winter weather in North Carolina was my entire month highlight, but my favorite was probably a cookie decorating party that I hosted! It was such a fun night and I hope it will become a tradition. 

I also managed to hit all of my monthly goals for December- including finding a pool which was a big win for me! This is why I love the accountability of making goals- I would not have done it but since I shared it here I had to. Now let's talk about how my annual goals went-

Spend More Time Outside 

  • 1000 Hours Outside - Got it!!
    • January - 54 total hours
    • February - 52 total hours
    • March - 97 total hours
    • April - 103 total hours
    • May - 94 hours total
    • June - 103 hours total
    • July  - 80 hours total
    • August - 85 hours total
    • September- 78 hours total
    • October-  123 hours total
    • November- 74 hours total
    • December- 57 hours total, breaking down to 32 hours running/walking/hiking, 4 hours reading, 19 hours socializing/misc, and 2 hours biking/kayaking/SUPing 
  • 2,022 Outdoor Miles - Ended up a little short at 1,747 miles. I am very proud of all of these miles though! 
    • January Running - 106 miles, Walking - 25.97 miles, Biking - 0 miles
    • February Running - 101 miles, Walking - 22.4 miles, Biking - 10.7 miles
    • March Running - 106 miles, Walking - 37.82 miles, Biking - 10 miles
    • April Running - 65.15 miles, Walking - 41.43 miles, Biking - 32 miles
    • May Running - 64.62 miles, Walking - 40.72 miles, Biking - 52.9 miles, Kayak/Paddling - 10 miles. 
    • June Running - 45.82 miles, Walking- 28.22 miles, Biking- 72.44 miles, Kayak/Paddling - 19 miles. 
    • July Running - 25.91 miles, Walking - 27.09 miles, Biking - 62.83 miles, Kayak/Paddling - 15 miles, Swimming - 6.2 miles 
    • August Running - 24.5 miles, Walking - 37.4 miles, Biking - 73.2 miles, Kayak/Paddling - 9 miles, Swimming - 8 miles
    • September Running - 23.34 miles, Walking - 30.7 miles, Biking - 58.93 miles, Kayak / Paddling - 16 miles, Swimming - 6 miles
    • October Running - 25.41 miles, Walking - 69 miles, Biking - 51.75 miles, Kayak / Paddling - 20 miles
    • November Running - 53.05 miles, Walking - 36.78 miles, Biking - 11.62 miles, Kayak/Paddling - 42 miles 
    • December Running - 58.44 miles, Walking - 18 miles, Biking - 15 miles, Kayak/Paddling - 13 miles, Swimming - 3 miles
  • Visit all the gardens and free museums in the Triangle
    • I finished this in November. Out of all of the gardens and museums that I visited, my favorites are the WRAL Azalea Garden and the Natural Sciences Museum! So nice to have amazing free place to visit and you should check them out.

Donate to a Different Charity Every Month

January - Autism Center of North Carolina - improves the lives of individuals with autism, supports their families, and educates communities. 

February - Black Girls CODE - builds pathways for young women of color to embrace the current tech marketplace as builders and creators by introducing them to skills in computer programming and technology.

March - GlobalGiving Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund - supports humanitarian assistance in impacted communities in Ukraine and surrounding regions where Ukrainian refugees have fled.

April - Amputee Blade Runners - I heard about Jacky Hunt-Broersma's attempt to break a world record by running 102 marathons in 102 days in order to raise money for other amputees. Her story is so inspiring and it's been a lot of fun following along with her journey (which included the Boston Marathon!)  

May - Everytown for Gun Safety - the largest gun violence prevention organization in America. 

June - Carolina Abortion Fund - operates a confidential, toll free helpline that provides financial, practical, and emotional support to callers in North and South Carolina trying to access abortion care.

July - Make a Wish Wheels for Wishes - operates car donation programs that benefit a variety of important causes including children’s charities and hospitals, and veterans programs. (This is where we donated our car once we decided to not keep it. The process was so easy so I would highly recommend if you need to get rid of one as well).

August - SPCA of Wake County - is an animal welfare agency headquartered in Raleigh, NC. Donations keep families together, make frontline rescue work possible, and save pets and people in crisis across NC.  

September - Habitat for Humanity - brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.

October - Pip's Rescue -  creating a better world for at-risk dogs, with a focus on those with special needs, by building a community of like-minded people through advocacy, education, fostering and adoption.

November - Wildlife Conservation Society - saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

December - Angel Gift Tree gift

Read all the Goodreads Best Books of 2021

After finishing all of the books, my favorite would have to be:

Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley - Best Young Adult Fiction - 5/5. Follows a biracial and unenrolled tribal member as she helps put back the pieces of her life and community after witnessing a horrible murder.

Start a Painting Etsy

This was my goal that kind of fell off during the year, but I did keep on painting all year! I started GretchPaints on Instagram and have 96 followers and shared 90 posts (including one reel that has over 10,000 views!) as well as a TikTok with 132 followers. My favorite piece that I painted was also my final one of the year- I had a friend that asked for a map of North Carolina with montains, forest, and beach to show the natural beauty and diversity of our state! I'm really happy with how it came out, especially since this was my biggest piece I've ever done and the first one I designed completely by myself. What do you think?

Next Year's Goals

Korean Vegan Cookbook

This cookbook was definitely one of my favorite purchases of the year (after borrowing it from the library multiple times and copying down recipes that I loved). I knew I had to buy it so I could try even more, so now I'm making it a goal for the year! There are 9 chapters in the book, and I want to try them all out. The chapters are:
- The basics
- Breads
- Side dishes
- Kimchi and salads
- Soups and stews
- Noodles and pastas
- Bar and street foods
- Main dishes
- Sweets
I'm thinking that my plan will be to try a chapter each month, and then for the remaining 3 months go back through my favorite chapters to try more recipes!

Temperature blanket

I started crocheting this year and feel like I've just been practicing so I can make a temperature blanket in 2023. If you don't know what it is- each temperature range (for example, 0-10 degrees, 11-20 degrees, etc) has an assigned color. For every day in a year, you crochet or knit one row of a blanket with the corresponding color for that day's average temperature. At the end, you have a colorful blanket! I'm so excited to try this out and will share my progress each month.

Hike 100 Miles + Check Out 10 New Parks

To be honest, I'm not sure if this number will be easy or hard to hit! All I know is that I want to have a bigger focus on hiking next year because it's something that I absolutely love to do and don't prioritize enough. I want to visit more parks and try out new trails, and I'm excited to see if I can hit this number (who knows- halfway through the year I might have to increase it!) Plus- trying to visit 10 new parks will force me to get out more and see new areas of North Carolina.

Read the Goodreads Best Books

I really liked this goal from last year, so I have to do it again. I already read a few of the winners, but here they all are-

Fiction - Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Mystery and Thriller - The Maid by Nita Prose
Historical Fiction - Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid (already read!)
Fantasy - House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J Maas (just like last year's, this is part of a series. I'll try to read the first in the series- Crescent City. It's over 800 pages though, so no promises....maybe I'll just finish the ACOTAR series instead?)
Romance - Book Lovers by Emily Henry (already read!)
Science Fiction - Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel
Horror - Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak
Humor - The Office BFFs by Jenna Fischer and Angel Kinsey
Nonfiction - Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown
Memoir - I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jenette McCurdy (already read!)
History - Bad Gays; a Homosexual History by Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller
Graphic Novels - Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Poetry - Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman
Debut Novel - Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
YA Fiction - The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
YA Fantasy - Gallant by VE Schwab

Work from a Coffee Shop Once a Month

I've worked from home for almost 3 years now, and even though I have an active social life, I still miss being in an office occasionally. I'm not looking to go back to one full time, but I thought it would be fun to try out different local coffee shops in the area and maybe even share my favorites at the end. Or- maybe I'll love the first one and just go back there every month.  Bonus points if I get myself to bike there!

What are some of your goals?


  1. Wow! Your guest room looks great! I wouldn't mind being a guest there.

    You really crushed your 2022 goals. Good for you! I'm really fascinated by how much time you spend outside. I just don't know how you do it!

    1. Thank you!! I'm so happy with how it turned out. Excited to invite over some guests!

  2. Wow, you did an amazing job on your goals. Congratulations! And I really like your focus on the books of the year - a good way to get out of your comfort zone, for sure. I also appreciate your weather from afar. :)


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